Killed in the Ratings (William L. DeAndrea)

Heterosexual male fantasy, and adolescent at that.  ("You're acting like the teacher caught you hiding a hard-on under your math book.")  Narrator is television junior executive Matt Cobb - young, tall, handsome; working-class, but stays in swish apartment; defender of English grammar, but one of the guys.  He finds corpse; lies to the cops; becomes … Continue reading Killed in the Ratings (William L. DeAndrea)

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The Shop Window Murders (Vernon Loder)

One of the most exhausting detective stories I've encountered.  Like Ellery Queen's French Powder Mystery, it opens with a crowd discovering that shop window mannequins are really corpses.  Unlike Queen, it's not very good.  The police have to sift through clues, false clues, manufactured evidence, and schools of red herrings before the culprit helpfully confesses.  … Continue reading The Shop Window Murders (Vernon Loder)

A belated Valentine’s Day

From the makers of The Golden Ass of Lucius Apuleius and Tiberius Goes Fishing: Love stories that Hollywood won't be making any time soon   DIDO AND ANANIAS   CALIGULA AND INCITATUS Remember, kids: Just say “Neigh!” (Caligula was fond of horses, but rarely stable.)   NERO AND AGRIPPINA Theirs was a love that ruled an empire – … Continue reading A belated Valentine’s Day

Omit Flowers (Stuart Palmer)

By Stuart Palmer First published: US, Doubleday, 1937.  UK, Collins, 1937, as No Flowers by Request. Kudos to Palmer for trying something new, even if it doesn't quite work. No Hildegarde Withers here;  it's one of those atmospheric jobs seen from the suspects' perspective. Grasping relatives descend on elderly eccentric Uncle Joel; he (apparently?) goes up … Continue reading Omit Flowers (Stuart Palmer)

The Man in the Moonlight (Helen McCloy)

By Helen McCloy First published: USA, Morrow Mystery, 1940 The Americans wrote better detective stories than anyone. [Discuss.  Argue.  Argue furiously.] Here's a good example why. "It was only when Lambert lifted his eyes from the decapitated mouse in his hand that Basil knew something was wrong." Murder interrupts a psychological experiment at Yorkville University. … Continue reading The Man in the Moonlight (Helen McCloy)